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Last Updated on January 10, 2018

14 Signs You’re Not Drinking Enough Water

14 Signs You’re Not Drinking Enough Water

There’s not much in this world more refreshing than a tall, ice-cold glass of water. I don’t think there’s anyone alive that can deny that sometimes, a simple glass of water can be more satisfying than a cup of coffee or a can of soda. Despite this, too many of us don’t drink enough water on a daily basis. By depriving ourselves of the world’s most natural resource, we are continuously damaging our bodies. If you experience any of the following, you can improve your situation by starting with a glass of H2O.

1. Your Mouth is Dry

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    This seems pretty obvious, but the ramifications might not be so. Of course, any time you feel that sticky, nasty feeling in your mouth, you’d obviously reach for some sort of liquid. But sugary drinks are only a temporary solution to a larger problem. Drinking water lubricates the mucus membranes in your mouth and throat, which will continue to keep your mouth moist with saliva long after that first sip.

    2. Your Skin is Dry

    Your skin is your body’s largest organ, so of course it needs to stay hydrated. In fact, dry skin is one of the earliest signs of full-on dehydration, which can lead to much larger problems. A lack of water means a lack of sweat, which leads to a body’s inability to wash away excess dirt and oil accumulated throughout the day. If you want to stave off breakouts, your first recourse should be to drink more water.

    3. You’re Overly Thirsty

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      We went over dry mouth already, but thirst goes beyond a desert-like tongue. Anyone who’s ever had a hangover can tell you that, upon waking up, your body just can’t get enough water. Alcohol dehydrates the entire body, and drinking water sends “YES PLEASE!” signals to the brain until your fluid levels get back to baseline.  Listen to what your body is telling you; it knows what it’s talking about!

      4. Your Eyes Are Dry

      By now it should be clear that drinking water affects more than just your mouth and throat. A lack of water intake leads to dry, bloodshot eyes (again, think of that last pounding hangover). Without water in the body, your tear ducts dry up. If you’re thinking “So what if I can’t cry?”, realize that this could cause much more harm to your eyes, especially if you wear contacts on a daily basis.

      5. You Experience Joint Pain

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        Our cartilage and spinal discs are made up of about 80% water. This is an absolute necessity to keep our bones from grinding against each other with every step we take. By keeping your body hydrated, you ensure that your joints can absorb the shock of sudden movements, such as running, jumping, or falling awkwardly.

        6. Your Muscle Mass Decreases

        Your muscles, also, are comprised mostly of water. Obviously, less water in the body means less muscle mass. Drinking water before, during, and after a workout not only keeps you hydrated and comfortable, it also brings water to the right places in your body, and decreases the chance of developing inflammation and soreness related to exercise and weightlifting.

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        7. You Stay Sick Longer

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          Drinking water allows your body to continuously flush out toxins. Your organs work to filter our certain waste products like a machine, but if you don’t fuel the machine with water, it cannot work properly. What ends up happening in a dehydrated body is organs start to pull water from stored areas like your blood, which leads to a whole new set of problems.

          8. You Feel Fatigued and Lethargic

          As we just mentioned, when a body is dehydrated it “borrows” water from your blood. A lack of properly hydrated blood leads to a lack of oxygen being brought throughout the body. Of course, a lack of oxygen leads to sleepiness and outright fatigue. A lack of stamina means you”ll start to experience that 2PM crash earlier and earlier in your day (and remember, coffee won’t help in the long run).

          9. You Experience Hunger Pangs

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            When you’re dehydrated, your body might start to think it needs some food. This happens throughout the day, and overnight when you wake up craving that midnight snack. However, eating food creates more work for your body, whereas drinking water purifies and your organs and supplies it with the fuel it needs to go through the other processes a body goes through.

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            10. You Experience Digestive Problems

            We spoke before about the mucus in our mouth and throat, and how keeping hydrated allows the membrane to function correctly. This also applies to the entire digestive system. Without proper hydration, the amount and strength of mucus in the stomach lessens, allowing stomach acid to do some major damage to your insides. This leads to what we commonly refer to as heartburn and indigestion.

            11. You Experience Constipation

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              Like we said, staying hydrated helps lubricate the digestive system. During the process of dehydration, the colon uses up the water that would have been used by the intestines in the next step of the digestive process. Without going into too much detail, I’ll let you figure out what a lack of lubricant in the intestines leads to.

              12. You Experience Reduced Urination

              Believe it or not, if you’re not taking a trip to the restroom 4-7 times a day, you’re probably not drinking enough water. And when you do go #1, it should be a light yellow or clear color. If it’s a darker yellow, your body is telling you it’s lacking proper hydration. In extreme cases, dehydration can lead to urinary tract infections, in which case you should consult a doctor right away.

              13. You Experience Premature Aging

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                The amount of water our bodies retain naturally decreases as we age. Obviously, what this means is that, as we get older, we should consciously increase our water intake. While premature aging is more evident on the outside, the damage it does to our insides will ultimately be felt over time. To decrease the risk of running your body raw, it’s important to continue to drink water throughout your lifetime.

                14. You’re Reading This And Have Gotten This Far

                I drink water all the time. I almost always have a glass or bottle of water next to me, whether I’m working, working out, or vegging out in front of the TV. If you clicked on this article, chances are you thought to yourself “Hm, I don’t think I drink enough water.” So if you don’t think you do, pour a glass right now! Don’t overdo it, of course, but if you’re not getting the recommended amount (which is higher than you’d think), there’s no harm in drinking more. Now if you’ll excuse me, all this typing has made me thirsty.

                Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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                Published on November 14, 2018

                Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

                For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

                In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

                Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

                Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

                It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

                For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

                Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

                Symptoms of Fatigue

                Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

                • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
                • mental blocks
                • lack of motivation
                • headache
                • dizziness
                • muscle weakness
                • slowed reflexes and responses
                • impaired decision-making and judgement
                • moodiness, such as irritability
                • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
                • reduced immune system function
                • blurry vision
                • short-term memory problems
                • poor concentration
                • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

                Causes of Fatigue

                The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

                • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
                • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
                • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
                • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

                Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

                Medical Causes of Fatigue

                If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

                Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

                Anemia

                Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

                Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

                There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

                Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

                Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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                This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

                Diabetes

                Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

                Sleep Apnea

                Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

                Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

                Thyroid disease

                An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

                Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

                • Lack of sleep
                • Too much sleep 
                • Alcohol and drugs 
                • Sleep disturbances 
                • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
                • Poor diet 

                Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

                • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
                • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
                • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
                • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

                Psychological Causes of Fatigue

                Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

                • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
                • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
                • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

                How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

                Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

                1. Tell The Truth

                Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

                To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

                Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

                The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

                One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

                • How you feel
                • What time of day it is
                • What may have contributed to your fatigue
                • How your mind and body reacts

                This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

                2. Reduce Your Commitments

                When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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                If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

                When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

                Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

                3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

                If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

                Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

                If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

                Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

                Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

                4. Express More Gratitude

                Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

                It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

                Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

                5. Focus On Yourself

                Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

                There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

                But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

                We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

                6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

                Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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                Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

                The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

                Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

                7. Take a Power Nap

                When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

                Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

                This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

                8. Take More Exercise

                The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

                Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

                The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

                You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

                9. Get More Quality Sleep

                To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

                Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

                My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

                10. Improve Your Diet

                Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

                Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

                On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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                To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

                Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

                Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

                11. Manage Your Stress Levels

                Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

                When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

                Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

                My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

                12. Get Hydrated

                Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

                Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

                If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

                The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

                The Bottom Line

                These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

                If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

                Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

                Reference

                [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
                [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
                [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
                [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
                [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
                [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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